Definition of circumlocution
- had no patience with diplomatic circumlocutions
- circumlocutions concerning what constitutes torture
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He was criticized for his use of circumlocution.
I'm trying to avoid circumlocutions in my writing.
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In The King's English, grammarian H.W. Fowler advised, "Prefer the single word to the circumlocution." Alas, that good advice was not followed by the framers of "circumlocution." They actually used two terms in forming that word for unnecessarily verbose prose or speech. But their choices were apt; circumlocution derives from the Latin circum-, meaning "around," and locutio, meaning "speech - so it literally means "roundabout speech." Since the 15th century, English writers have used "circumlocution" with disdain, naming a thing to stop, or better yet, to avoid altogether. Charles Dickens even used it to satirize political runarounds when he created the fictional Circumlocution Office, a government department that delayed the dissemination of information and just about everything else.
First Known Use: circa 1518See Words from the same year
: the use of many words to say something that could be said more clearly and directly by using fewer words
See words that rhyme with circumlocution Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for circumlocution Spanish Central: Translation of circumlocution Nglish: Translation of circumlocution for Spanish speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about circumlocution
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